Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chevillard's night

We had another wonderful  French night, two weeks ago, 
welcoming Eric Chevillard's novels.

Eric Chevillard has been publishing since 1987.
He is published by the very famous and very demanding French publisher Editions de Minuit and his novels place him in the tradition of humoristic novelists such as Laurence Sterne. The stories he tells have a touch of nonsense and his characters are misfits who could figure in a Beckett or a Kafka novel. He has the style of a literary master : his sentences expand through absurd details and considerations about the character's story.

As for example, in the begining of Prehistoric times the narrator gives precise details about the uniform he has to wear : the uniform doesn't suit him because it belonged to Boborikine, the man he replaced. Boborikine didn't quite fit in the uniform either because it belonged before him to Crescenzo who was smaller and thiner. Both men were physically different but had to wear the same uniform and respect to the job it represents : 
"a uniform needs nobody except to make it stand".

Isabelle Milkoff and Margaret George reading the first chapters of Prehistoric Times

In "Lecture with Slides", a chapter taken from The posthumous works of Thomas Pilaster, the lecturer is warning his audience about a very strong ecological issue : "the desert is advancing". The precise description of this sandy invasion is mixed with foolish considerations about the causes and dangers it represents. The irony in Eric Chveillard's novel is met with crualty. 

Philippe Aufort and Tom Radigan reading "Lecture with Slides"

with a strong conviction !

It was a convincing and scary reading, indeed
because, Ladies and gentlemen, be aware :

"The desert is advancing"

In The Rabbit,  the bunny shape of a head-rest cover in a car is very quietly and precisely described. It is the perfect illustration of our age that insists to "surround ourselves with children's toys".  It takes a while before we understand that this head-rest cover designed as a bunny is what is left of a wrecked car.

Emmanuelle Ertel launched the reading of the short story 
which was translated by her students of the Master of Literary Translation in NYU.

Bonnie Zaleski, Victoria Sheehan and Brett Ray 
are here on the starting blocks to begin their reading 

Everyone is carefuly listening

and our faithful young audience is having fun.

After the reading some time for a chat

and for pictures !

It is so nice to make people happy !

The translations of the three Chevillard's excerpts were done by
Alison Waters for Prehistoric times
Christopher Clarke for The posthumous works of thomas Pilaster
and by students in the Master of LiteraryTranslation program at NYU for The Rabbit

If you missed Chevillard, go visit his daily blog :

See you soon, folks !
We'll let you know as soon as possible when our next French Night is happening.

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